Goal Setting in Sport

goal setting

What Are The Different Types of Goals?

There are three main types of goals in sport – outcome goals, process goals and performance goals. Outcome goals are focused on working towards an end result, such as reaching a particular level of competition. These take longer than other types of goals as often they are a larger target. These goals are harder to work towards as it depends on the individual's performance and the performance of others around them and how they may compare.  

Process goals are about working on a technique that will better your performance. This could include bettering your time when running a distance or nailing a specific skill used in your sport.  

Finally, performance goals are about reaching a target, such as scoring a specific number of goals in a season and are solely for the individual, unaffected by those around them.  

How Should You Plan Your Goals? 

When planning your goal and how to achieve these, consider using the SMARTER principle. This is an acronym that helps you ensure that the goals are achievable and allows you to plan how to work towards them. Goals need to be: 

Specific – This means that your end result needs to be as specific as possible so that you are clear about what you want to achieve. A goal that is too broad can be difficult to work towards.  

Measurable – Your goal should be measurable, meaning that you can track your progress effectively. This allows you to measure where you are at the moment, allowing you to determine how much you need to improve to reach your goal.   

Attainable – Your goal should be shared with those around you that are also invested, such as your coaches, for example. If all parties are in agreement, they can work together to help you reach your target.   

Realistic – The goal should be realistic, meaning that you are likely to be able to achieve it with work. It can be challenging but not impossible.  

Time-Framed – The goal that you have set yourself should have a time frame attached to it to allow you to plan effectively.  

Exciting – The goal should be something that you care about in order to motivate you.  

Recorded – Finally, your progress towards the goal and the goal itself should be recorded to help track your progress.  


Setting goals is a great way of solidifying your aims and how you wish to achieve them. It breaks down your goals into realistic, manageable steps, increasing your confidence and helping you succeed.